Drama-filled start to World Powerboat Championship

Franco Jacobs and Carlo Johnson take an unexpected swim in the North End Lake
SURPRISE SWIM: Franco Jacobs and Carlo Johnson take an unexpected swim in the North End Lake

There was high drama during the first stage of the World P750 Inflatable Powerboat Championships at the Eastern Province Powerboat Club at North End Lake.

The flat-water circuit leg of the championship was packed with at least seven high-speed flips and barrel rolls across all three classes as the competitors battled with the windy conditions during Sunday’s opening day.

In the first race of the day, local favourites Terry Lantz and his co-pilot Jana Zittlau were lucky to escape serious injury when a strong gust caught them as they negotiated a turn-buoy, with the boat hooking a sharp left turn before being hit by a following boat that damaged their engine mounting, putting paid to any further participation by them on day one.

In true Eastern Cape style, the weather turned for the better on day two, providing perfect racing conditions with not one flip occurring during the day’s racing action.

All three of the classes participated in four heats of six laps each before proceeding to a nine-lap final, where in the modified class that had to be split into two groups due to the number of entries, it was Renier le Roux and Jan Human that snatched the win from early pace setters Reghard and Dagmar Roets in second, with Ruben Scholtz and Rynhardt Koekemoer taking a close third.

The best of the international teams was a ninth-place overall for the Netherlands team of Ivar Snip and Mitchel Boschma, and a 12-place finish for Hagen Jerzynski and Hendric Rieger representing Germany.

In the Pro-stock class, JP Hammam and Corne Geldenhuys saved their best for the finals, displaying high-speed ability to record a fairly dominant win over Wimpie Ackerman and Monja Theart, with Flippie Schoeman and Wian Strydom in third and three-time world champion Stefan Lindeque, with Luke Myburgh as his co-pilot, in a close fourth.

The standard class saw another great performance from the young pair of Dylan Bamberger and Carla Engelbrecht as they won each heat as well as the final with Renier Cronje and Francois van Rooyen taking second, followed by current SA champions Nikki du Bois and Tertius de Kock in third.

The fairy tale continues for Bamber and Engelbrecht after their impressive win in the Trans-Agulhas endurance race that took place at the end of December where Engelbrecht was a late replacement for Bamber’s regular co-pilot who suffered an injury just two weeks before the start of the event.

The event was meant to move to King's Beach for the surf leg on Wednesday.

But, according to the organisers, weather predictions were not conducive to racing on Wednesday or Thursday.

The program has changed to four heats on Friday from 8am and a final for each group with the last day on Saturday.



Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.